By Hamilton Nolan
Source: In These Times
In less than two weeks, a tiny group of a half dozen workers in Barkhamsted, Connecticut will vote on whether to become the only unionized Dollar General store employees in America. These six people in a small town about 20 miles northwest of Hartford now find themselves positioned to gain a historic toehold for organized labor inside a booming, low-wage industry. But it will not be easy.
Few companies have prospered since the beginning of the pandemic as much as Dollar General. The company boasts that three quarters of all Americans now live within five miles of one of its nearly 18,000 stores. The Washington Post reported that foot traffic at those stores has risen by a third in the past two years. Dollar General’s stock price has boomed during the pandemic, and the company is now worth almost $50 billion. It is the king of the dollar store industry, whose growth has far outpaced that of traditional big box stores like Walmart and Target, as the have-nots of the American economy have come to rely on the industry’s cheaper, and more ubiquitous, offerings.